University Brings Holodeck One Step Closer To Reality

By Michelle
April 18, 2006 - 8:33 PM

A Canadian university has developed a high-tech projection system to allow astronomers to study the stars.

"It's not quite the holodeck on Star Trek," admitted Robert Deupree, director of Saint Mary's University's Institute for Computational Astrophysics, to CBC News. However, the technology will allow professors and students to create hologram-like models that can be manipulated for research purposes.

The Halifax university has developed a "data cave" where models projected from 2.5-metre screens, backlit by projectors, appear to float in midair for astronomers wearing polarized glasses. "To understand how the turbulence works and what's actually going on in this star, I need to see the entire turbulent field at once," explained Deupree.

He said that the technology also has practical applications, such as the study of air currents. "If somebody were to set off an explosion here in Halifax that had biological agents in it, turbulent flow would result. To find out where these agents go, you'd need to be able to model at some level the turbulent flow."

Deupree estimated that it would take 10 to 15 years before true three-dimensional projection like one sees on the Enterprise's holodeck might be available. The government of Canada has given Saint Mary's University $1 million for its research.

The original article is here.

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